Category: literature

‘Periodic tales’: what the chemical elements remind us about education

As part of this year’s uplifting Oxford University Alumni Weekend, a panel of speakers led an engaging session inspired by Hugh Aldersey-Williams’ new book, ‘Periodic Tales: The Curious Lives of the Elements’. The author himself spoke, and explored how artists, sculptors and poets across the ages have used the elements, imbuing them with meaning and …

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Individuals making a difference – an Ascham Old Girl in Melbourne

With the buzz of last night’s moving Valedictory Dinner for our Year 12 leavers still ringing in my ears, and as our Year 12s prepare for their final examinations and for life beyond school, my thoughts turn to Old Girls and the enormous breadth of activity that Ascham Old Girls undertake. It would be impossible …

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Redefining ‘richness’ in working motherhood

Lat month I attended an all day festival at the Sydney Opera House entitled ‘All About Women‘. A number of speakers spoke about their various opinions about women’s role in the world today, and the day was supplemented by a number of ‘conversations’ – panel discussions which tackled some of the issues facing women in the …

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Investing in women is the smart thing to do

With the celebrations and messages of International Women’s Day last week still reverberating, I thought I would devote this blog to reminding us why it is so important that we devote time, energy and resources to developing opportunities for women throughout the world. Justine Greening, the UK Government Secretary of State for International Development recently …

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Kitty Wilkinson, the Saint of the Slums: remembering our pioneering women

I very much enjoyed my visit last week to Liverpool, to attend our annual Girls’ Schools Association Heads’ conference, and I took the opportunity to discover a little more of the history of a city that was once one of the UK’s most important ports. (Actually, it still is – it is one of the …

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What can we do to promote a culture of kindness in society?

If you read my comments in today’s Mail on Sunday – “Top headmistress says social networking and public rows between celebs are causing a generation of mean girls”, you will see that I am warning against the culture of nastiness that often pervades our online (and real-life) world. Why this is aimed more at women …

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Filling in the history: famous Australian women (part 1)

Another week, another city – another continent. From Washington DC to Sydney involves travelling more than half way around the world, which is an exercise in physical resilience, but an opportunity to think and reflect, and I have enjoyed using the time to start preparing for our new life in Australia (for which this trip …

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Inequality put right: recent lessons from America

Being in Washington tends to focus one’s mind on things American, which can be very refreshing and enriching, bringing as it does a slightly different perspective to one’s world view. Yet even though the view is different, the issues are often at heart the same, and as I was reading the comments made by the …

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Miss-Representation – how we portray women in the media, and what we can do about it

One of the sessions at the UK Girls’ Schools Association Conference in Bristol in November, which I hosted as GSA President, was an uplifting interactive conversation with colleagues from the States. It immediately preceded the arrival of Nick Gibb, Minister of State for Schools, who was delayed; the positive upshot was that we were able …

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Keep an eye on the hidden surveys – for they tell a truth we must not forget

Surveys, by their nature, are newsworthy. They give a snapshot of a current issue at the current moment amongst whichever group they target, and as a result they will often make it into the daily news schedule. Sometimes they make a big splash, become major news items and have producers running to elicit requests for …

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